Let’s Make A Deal – Andy Burns On The Lure Of Black Friday

If you’re anything like me (and if you’re reading this than I think it’s safe to assume we’ve got something in common, whether you’ll admit to it or not), you’ve got DVD’s sitting around your house that still have the plastic wrap on them. I know I do – same with cds as well. That’s what happens when you’re either a) a collector or b) work in the media industry and get handed a lot of free material. If you’re both? Well then, you’re hurting for space I’m guessing. We’ve done a huge cull over the last few months, and I’m happy to say there’s less unopened “things” around my house. In the meantime, I’ve definitely been cutting baclk

The problem with being a collector, that fatal disease that is only a few subway stops short of being a hoarder, is that amassing the collection is as much fun as actually watching or listening to what’s in it. I was reminded of this last week with our American friends Thanksgiving celebrations and the ensuing Black Friday sales that gets the Web into such a frenzy each and every year. I’m as guilty as anyone – not only did I partake in an Amazon.com lightning deal (Lost: The Complete Series is making its way here any day now, thanks to it’s ridiculous half the Canadian retail price offering – now I’ll finally find out what happened with Hurley and Ben!), but I caught myself checking back hourly to see what other goods might be on sale. Thankfully, there wasn’t anything that caught my fancy, but it’s still hard to say no to a lot of of those competitive prices. I considered one purchase a strong restraint.

While I thought my Black Friday was over and done with by 11pm the night of, leave it to one more great deal to suck me in. Earlier in the day I had received an email from Comixology, which is the groundbreaking company that has been managing the major comic book publisher’s iPad apps. Essentially, download the Marvel or DC app (or BOOM or Image ones, for that matter) and you can download optimized comics straight to your iPad or iPhone. The email was basically a blast letting me know that for one day Blackest Night, the massive DC Comics crossover event of the last year, would be on sale, all 79 issues (main series and various ancillary issues) for just 99 cents each. They were calling it Blackest Friday. Of course.

To give you some perspective, to buy the 8 issue Blackest Night deluxe hardcover released a few months ago would cost me in the neighborhood of $30. Now, while the collector in me would enjoy having the series (about various DC characters returning from the dead and doing battle with icons such as Green Lantern and The Flash) on the bookshelf, I have seriously been enjoying reading comics via the Marvel and DC apps. And with this Blackest Friday sale going on, I was going to wind up spending a little over $8 to read the core series. When it came down to it, the decision was pretty much a no brainer. So with a click of a few buttons, Blackest Night was downloading onto my iPad (along with the prologue found in an issue of Green Lantern that featured the origin of series big bad, The Black Hand, and one of the most intense death scenes I’d seen in mainstream comics in years).

I won’t give any sort of in-depth Blackest Night review here, since I’ve only read a few issues so far, though I will tell you that it’s immediately the best DC event comic I’ve read in the last few years, trumping the much ballyhooed and the much more confusing Final Crisis by a mile. What’s even more exciting for me was the brilliance of the sale itself. Obviously the date and name tie-in was brilliant marketing, as was having the entire series available for anyone that wanted to plunk down $79 for 79 issues. And believe me, I did consider it for a few moments and only stopped after some careful consideration and confirmation from Biff Bam Pop!’s JP that I could enjoy the 8 issue mini-series on its own. As someone who isn’t a huge DC fan by any stretch, I’ve definitely been waffling on putting out the money on the hardcover, but by making the splash they did with the Blackest Friday sale, the company managed to get my money and enable me to read the story by legal and official means on my new and preferred method of comic consumption.

Once I finished downloading the series, I checked out the Marvel app to see if they’d come up with any sort of initiative to combat their distinguished competitions brilliant play. Maybe the entire Siege storyline would be on sale? Sadly, it wasn’t to be, which meant that, for at least one dreaded evening, this Marvel zombie had to admit his favourite company had been soundly trumped by the competition.

We’ll see what they do next Black Friday. I’d better start saving.

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